Military Mental Health Awareness Fair in Morehead hopes to introduce people to resources and help
A Military Mental Health Awareness Fair is taking place Saturday in Morehead. The event is organized by the Rowan County Suicide Prevention Coalition, made up of local veterans' groups, health care professionals and community leaders.
Laura Reed is the Military Behavioral Health Coordinator with Pathways, a mental health organization serving 10 eastern Kentucky counties including Rowan, Bath, Menifee and Morgan counties.
Reed said until recently, mental health advocacy in rural communities has been lacking.
“That's kind of the point of tomorrow is to make our presence known, to reduce stigma, and to kind of inform the public in general what mental health means, what mental illness looks like, and what they have available to them,” said Reed.
Reed added that one of their goals is to reduce the stigma and shame around mental illness.
“I think mental health would be exactly the same as you know, somebody getting a diagnosis of like diabetes. You don't ask to be diabetic, and you have to have certain treatments in order to deal with that, just like a mental health disorder,” said Reed.
Reed will be giving a talk at the event about post-traumatic stress and coping strategies. The mental health professional said part of that speech will focus on the brain and how it is hardwired to help us survive trauma.
Reed said the event will include a moment of silence for veterans who have died of suicide and a proclamation to dedicate the day to service men and women with mental health challenges.
The Military Mental Health Awareness Fair is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the American Legion in Morehead. Reed added that there will be food, inflatables for kids and door prizes.